crime fiction

“43 Missing” by Carmen Amato

 

In “43 Missing,” Detective Emilia Cruz, the first woman detective in Acapulco, has been called in on a federal level case – a search for the missing bodies of 43 male college students who participated in an annual protest rally. After stealing busses from a local bus company, they were stopped by the police, handed over to a drug gang, and never seen again.


Cruz is part of a task force of five law enforcement officers hand-picked by the Attorney General’s office because of their lack of affiliation with any previous inquiries or associations with the families. Their parameters are clear: ‘Don’t gather new evidence or interview the families, but the government wants to confirm or deny the conclusions of the previous investigations and put the matter to rest.’


"43 Missing" is based on an actual 2014 case in Mexico. It garnered quite a bit of international attention and was thought at the time to be gang/drug related. Nobody, not even the Mexican government, disputed that. 


In Amato's fictional account, the families want closure. They know the boys are dead, but they have to find where the bodies were buried. It's been a year and a half and the families feel corruption is getting in the way of the truth. They don't want to point fingers or cast blame because they fear for their lives if they do speak up. In “43 Missing,” several previous investigations conducted by various agencies pointed to inadequate actions by the Mexican government, and nothing was done to either bring anyone to justice or to find the bodies.


Emilia agrees to participate because of the connection to an old, intensely personal case. She may be able to find the person, her own brother, against whom she must exact revenge. So far, she has risked everything – friends, an important relationship, her job; now maybe her life.


What is uncovered in "43 Missing" is astounding. Amato is thoroughly convincing in her version of what might have happened in real life. The two cases of the missing boys and Cruz' search for personal revenge overlap in complex and frightening ways. This is a haunting page-turner.


Amato's books are set in Mexico, with vivid images of the country's landscape and unique architecture, both old and new. She includes descriptions of the meals eaten in street-side cafes and great restaurants, reminding me how much I love Mexican food.


Taut writing ramps up the tension in “43 Missing,” as Amato deals with the issues plaguing any two countries battling the drug trade and human trafficking along their borders. The tragedy of decent members of society caught in the crossfire, stayed with me long after I finished the book. 


In real-life, the 43 bodies have yet to be found.


“43 Missing,” nominated for Killer Nashville’s Silver Falchion award, is book #6 in the Detective Emilia Cruz series. Please visit http://carmenamato.net/ for more information about Ms. Amato’s distinguished law enforcement background and the other books in the series.

 

 

McIlvanney Prize: Scotland Crime Book of the Year – 2018

 

Bloody Scotland 2018

 

The Scotland Crime Book of the Year Award, now called The McIlvanney Prize, is given at Bloody Scotland, a premier conference for crime writers. Eligible authors must be born in Scotland, live there, or set their books there. The winner receives 1,000 pounds and the book is promoted for a year by a major bookstore chain in Great Britain. Links to books included. The winner is indicated in red.

 

2018 Finalists

Lin Anderson, “Follow the Dead


Chris Brookmyre, “Places in the Darkness


Charles Cumming, “The Man Between


Liam McIlvanney, “The Quaker

 

Congratulations to all the finalists and to the winner!  🙂

 

Previous winners are noted below:

2017: Denise Mina – “The Long Drop”

2016: Chris Brookmyre – “Black Widow”

2015: Craig Russell – “The Ghosts of Altona”

2014: Peter May – “Entry Island”

 

 

K9 Fiction: Mysteries, Suspense, and Thrillers

 

Drug sniffing Belgian Malinois, Police Officer Joy

 

Are you a dog owner or a dog lover who loves to read mysteries and thrillers? Then this list was created for you. These are military and law enforcement novels featuring dogs in a primary role. Several of the books were recommended by fans of the Nightstand Book Reviews website, and others were suggested by NBR subscribers themselves.

 

Click on the author names. Those links will take you to their websites and more information about the novels. Let us know in the comments below if you have enjoyed the books.  🙂

 

Robert Crais  “Suspect” & “The Promise,” feature Maggie, the police dog and her handler Scott James, both war veterans. “Suspect” has been optioned for a movie.

 

Susan Furlong  “Splintered Silence,” Book #1 in the Bone Gap Travellers series. A war veteran and her injured military dog return to Appalachia and solve a crime. Rave reviews. More books on the way.

 

Alex Kava   “Breaking Creed” is Book #1 in the Ryder Creed series. Ex-Marine, Ryder Creed, and his K-9 Search and Rescue dogs, team with FBI profiler Maggie O’Dell.

 

Diane Kelly  “Paw Enforcement” is the first book of nine in the Paw Enforcement Mystery series. Police officer Megan Luz and her loyal K-9 partner Brigit, are the heart of the series.

 

Ronie Kendig  A Breed Apart faith based, action oriented series about military war dogs and their handlers.

 

Margaret Mizushima “Killing Trail” is the first of the award-winning Timber Creek K9 Mysteries featuring Deputy Mattie Cobb, her police dog partner Robo, and veterinarian Cole Walker. Set in Colorado.

 

Paula Munier  “Borrowing of Bones” features a retired soldier and her bomb-sniffing dog who work with U.S. Game Warden Troy Warner and his Search and Rescue canine, in a mystery set in rural Vermont.

 

Barbara Nickless  “Blood on the Tracks” Railroad police Special Agent Sydney Parnell and her K9 partner Clyde, solve crimes in this gritty new thriller series.

 

Spencer Quinn   Chet and Bernie Mysteries with Chet, the canine narrator, who works alongside Bernie, a down-on-his-luck private investigator.

 

Nora Roberts “The Search” Search and Rescue dog trainer/romantic suspense set in the Pacific Northwest.

 

James Rollins and Grant Blackwood, The Tucker Wayne series. Part of the Sigma Force world, featuring former Army Ranger Tucker Wayne and Kane, his military working dog companion.

 

David Rosenfelt  Andy Carpenter series. Carpenter is a New Jersey lawyer, a dog lover whose cases always revolve around dogs.

Bloodhound, Police Officer Bocephus

 

Happy Reading!   🙂

 

 

 

 

The Shamus Awards – 2018

 

 

Bouchercon, the largest international mystery lovers’ convention, was held in September this year in Florida. It’s a natural platform for several writing awards, including the Anthony, Barry, and Macavity Awards for excellence in mysteries. In addition, the Private Eye Writers of America’s 2018 Shamus Awards were given for deserving Private Eye titles published in 2017.
 

PWA’s definition of a Private Eye: a person paid to investigate crimes who is not employed by a government agency.

Winners were announced at the PWA Banquet and are indicated in red.
 

Best Original Private Eye Paperback 
Play a Cold Hand by Terence Faherty

The Strange Disappearance of a Bollywood Star by Vaseem Khan

Dames Fight Harder by M. Ruth Myers

The Painted Gun by Bradley Spinelli

Lights Out Summer by Rich Zahradnik

 

Best First Private Eye Novel
Under Water by Casey Barrett

A Negro and an Ofay by Danny Gardner

Gone to Dust by Matt Goldman

August Snow by Stephen Mack Jones

The Last Place You Look by Kristen Lepionka

 

Best P.I. Short Story

Eric Beetner, “Out of Business,” in Down & Out, The Magazine Vol 1/ Issue 1

Reed Farrel Coleman, “Breakage,” in Down & Out, The Magazine Vol 1/ Issue 1

Brendan Dubois, “Random,” in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, Jan/Feb

Robert S. Levinson, “Rosalie Marx is Missing,” in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, May/June

Paul D. Marks, “Windward,” in Coast to Coast: Private Eyes from Sea to Shining Sea
 

Best Private Eye Novel 

Dark Water by Parker Bilal

Blood Truth by Matt Coyle

Y is for Yesterday by Sue Grafton

The Room of White Fire by T. Jefferson Parker

Monument Road by Michael Wiley


Congratulations to all the finalists and winners!  🙂

 

Macavity Awards-2018

 

 

The Macavity Awards-2018 finalists were nominated by members of Mystery Readers International, subscribers to Mystery Readers Journal, and friends of MRI. The winners were announced at opening ceremonies at Bouchercon in St Petersburg, Florida, in September.


Mystery Readers International, Mystery Readers Journal, and the Macavity Awards, were created by Anthony Award winner, Janet Rudolph.


Links to three of the short fiction nominees are included.

Best Mystery Novel
“The Marsh King's Daughter,” by Karen Dionne
“Magpie Murders,” by Anthony Horowitz
“Bluebird, Bluebird,” by Attica Locke
“Glass Houses,” by Louise Penny
“The Old Man,” by Thomas Perry
“The Force,” by Don Winslow

 

Best First Mystery Novel
“Hollywood Homicide,” by Kellye Garrett
“The Dry,” by Jane Harper
“She Rides Shotgun,” by Jordan Harper
“The Lost Ones,” by Sheena Kamal
“The Last Place You Look,” by Kristen Lepionka
“Lost Luggage,” by Wendall Thomas


Best Mystery Short Story
As Ye Sow,” by Craig Faustus Buck, in Passport to Murder: Bouchercon Anthology 2017

“The #2 Pencil,” by Matt Coyle, in Coast to Coast: Private Eyes from Sea to Shining Sea

“Infinite Uticas,” by Terence Faherty (Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, May/June 2017)

Whose Wine is it Anyway?” Barb Goffman, in 50 Shades of Cabernet

“Windward,” by Paul D. Marks, in Coast to Coast: Private Eyes from Sea to Shining Sea

A Necessary Ingredient,” by Art Taylor, in Coast to Coast: Private Eyes from Sea to Shining Sea


Sue Feder Memorial Award: Best Historical Mystery
“Dangerous to Know,” by Renee Patrick
“The Devouring,” by James R. Benn
“In Farleigh Field,” by Rhys Bowen
“Cast the First Stone,” by James W. Ziskin
“Racing the Devil,” by Charles Todd
“A Rising Man,” by Abir Mukherjee  

 

Congratulations to the Macavity Awards-2018 nominees and winners (indicated in red)  🙂

 

 

CrimeFest 2018

 

The 10th anniversary of CrimeFest was held in Bristol, England. Attended by over 500 fans, writers, agents, and publishers this year, the CrimeFest Awards began as a variation of the USA’s Left Coast Crime Awards and has become one of the best crime fiction conferences in Europe.
 

In most cases, eligible titles for the various awards were submitted by publishers, and a team of British crime fiction reviewers voted to establish the shortlist and the winning title. Congratulations to all the nominees and winners (indicated in red). Click on the book titles to discover more about the nominees and winners.


CRIMEFEST AWARDS

eDUNNIT AWARD

The eDunnit Award is for the best crime fiction ebook first published in both hardcopy and in electronic format in the British Isles in 2017.

– Chris Brookmyre, Want You Gone 
– Ken Bruen, The Ghosts of Galway 
Michael Connelly, The Late Show
– Joe Ide, IQ 
– Dennis Lehane, Since We Fell 
– Steve Mosby, You Can Run 
– Gunnar Staalesen, Wolves in the Dark 
– Sarah Stovell, Exquisite 


LAST LAUGH AWARD

The Last Laugh Award is for the best humorous crime novel first published in the British Isles in 2017.

– Simon Brett, Blotto, Twinks and the Stars of the Silver Screen 
– Christopher Fowler, Bryant & May – Wild Chamber 
Mick Herron, Spook Street 
– Vaseem Khan, The Strange Disappearance of a Bollywood Star 
– Khurrum Rahman, East of Hounslow 
– C.J. Skuse, Sweetpea 
– Antti Tuomainen, The Man Who Died 
– L.C. Tyler, Herring in the Smoke 

 
BEST CRIME NOVEL FOR YOUNG ADULTS (12 – 16)

CRIMEFEST presents this award to celebrate the burgeoning interest in fiction for young adults as a whole. Eligible titles are crime novels for children (ages 12-16) first published in the British Isles in 2017. 

– Cat Clarke, Girlhood 
– Zana Fraillon, The Ones That Disappeared 
– Will Hill, After the Fire 
Patrice Lawrence, Indigo Donut
– E. Lockhart, Genuine Fraud 
– Sophie McKenzie, SweetFreak 
– Teri Terry, Dark Matter: Contagion 
– Teresa Toten, Beware That Girl 


Please visit http://www.crimefest.com/awards-cf/ for nominees and winners in the AUDIBLE SOUNDS OF CRIME, the BEST CRIME NOVEL for CHILDREN 8-12, the H.R.F. KEATING AWARD, and the PETRONA AWARD.

 

“Defending Jacob” by William Landay

 

 

“Defending Jacob,” features Andrew Barber as an Assistant DA, with a 22 year stint as part of the District Attorney’s office. A few days after his son’s classmate is stabbed to death, Barber is barred from the case and given a leave of absence from work.
 

His son is accused of the terrible crime, but Barber knows in his bones that Jacob could not have done it. When a devastating secret is uncovered during the investigation into the boy’s death, we realize that Barber may be alone in that belief. Despite incredible pressure from everyone he knows, as well as additional evidence to the contrary, he never stops declaring his son’s innocence.
 

“Defending Jacob” explores family relationships as they evolve in the aftermath of horrific events. This absorbing psychological courtroom drama deftly captures the doubts and the pointing fingers as members of the community seek to find answers for this senseless stabbing/killing. What parenting lack created this apparently crazed teenager living amongst them? Or was it a flaw in the child himself? If ‘x’ can kill, how certain can we be that someone else might not be capable of the same act? “Defending Jacob” was published in 2012, but the story could be ripped from the headlines today.
 

Landay, a former DA himself, posits a few theories to explain the multi-faceted plot lines and has several characters explore the possibility of a murder gene – that murder can be committed because of a hereditary predisposition. Modern psychological profiling indicates that the level of violence in our backgrounds most likely informs our future actions, but is there an actual gene? And, in my opinion, most disturbing of all: Does law enforcement really pick a suspect and then go after evidence to support that theory, no matter how far a stretch from the truth?
 

The ending left me stunned, contemplating which character was, in the end, most damaged. I may never resolve that in my mind. This was a riveting read from start to finish and beyond.
 

“Defending Jacob” won the Strand Critics Award, and a movie based on the book may be released this year.  Please visit www.williamlanday.com for information about Landay’s other books.

 

*Note: contains sporadic swearing/coarse language.